Oliver Perez joins Mariners bullpen
Perez, 30, has been remaking himself as a reliever after a roller-coaster career with the Mets during which he went 25-17 in 2007-08, signed a big deal to stay in New York and then struggled mightily and was eventually released before the 2011 season with $12 million still owed on his contract.
Perez came to Mariners as a non-roster invitee this spring and showed enough to land in Tacoma, but his contract had a clause where he could request his release if he wasn’t on the Major League club by June 1.
The Mariners have decided to take a look at him now to see exactly what they’ve got after he pitched relatively well for Tacoma. Delabar originally was sent down to work on his slider so he’d have a secondary pitch to keep hitters off his fastball. He was recalled on Wednesday when Stephen Pryor went on the disabled list and pitched well in his one appearance since then, but now will be given more time to work on developing that secondary pitch.
Lucas Luetge and Charlie Furbush have been pitching extremely well as left-handed relievers, so it’ll be interesting to see how Perez is worked in. Manager Eric Wedge noted he can be more than a left-on-left guy, given his long history as a starter, but his role will be established as things play out.
Perez will earn $750,000 on his Major League deal with the Mariners. The other cost is the potential loss of Minor League outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang, who was designated for assignment to make room for Perez on the 40-man roster.
Chiang was one of the two prospects acquired for Erik Bedard last July 31 — along with Trayvon Robinson — and had big numbers for Boston’s Double-A club at the time. But he hasn’t hit much at all in the Mariners system and is batting .236 for Double-A Jackson this year.
Being DFA’d exposes him to other clubs, so it remains to be seen whether he’ll wind up sticking with the Mariners or not.
Meanwhile, the Mariners will seek to snap a six-game losing streak tonight against Tim Lincecum in what figures to be an interesting matchup with Kevin Millwood, making his first appearance since his six innings in the combined no-hitter last week.
Franklin Gutierrez isn’t in the lineup, with Wedge saying they want to bring him in slowly the first 10 games or so back off the DL. He’ll start Sunday in the series finale with the Giants.
Wedge said he’s considering giving Ichiro a day off soon as well, but would want to talk to the veteran first. The return of Casper Wells gives Wedge far more flexibility in that regard as Wells can play right in Ichiro’s place or left — as he is tonight — with Gutierrez off.
Here’s tonight’s full lineup against Lincecum (2-7, 6.00):
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Casper Wells LF
Kyle Seager 3B
Jesus Montero C
Michael Saunders CF
Justin Smoak 1B
Dustin Ackley 2B
John Jaso DH
Brendan Ryan SS
Kevin Millwood RHP